A conflict analysis approach for illuminating distributional issues in sustainability policy
In the area of environmental and resource management and in policies aiming at sustainable development, conflicting issues and interests are the normal state of affairs. Mathematical approaches cannot of course be a panacea able to resolve all real-world conflicts; but they can help to provide more insight into the nature of these conflicts by providing systematic information. Moreover mathematical models are very useful in helping at finding potential social compromises by making a complex situation more transparent to policy-makers and lay people. This is the main objective of the conflict analysis procedure developed here. Distributional issues are taken into consideration by means of an eclectic approach using concepts from land-use planning, fuzzy cluster analysis and social choice. All the various properties presented by the proposed approach are made explicit thus allowing its evaluation on theoretical and empirical grounds. Possible relationships of complementarity or conflictuality with other existing approaches are also discussed briefly. A real-world illustrative example is presented too.
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